Sheriff Speaks Out Against President Obama's Immgration Policy

Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson stood in front of more than 100 empty bunks at the Immigration Detention Center in Dartmouth, Massachusetts - a facility that, up until this year, was often filled to near capacity will what he called illegal detainees.

Hodgson is joining sheriffs from around the country this week to criticize President Obama's federal immigration policy that in their words, is allowing illegal immigrants with violent criminal backgrounds to be released back into communities.

"It's all about politics. It's all about voters. It's all about looking good to the immigrant community," he said.

Hodgson and others in law enforcement say the problem has gotten worse since Obama eliminated "Secure Communities," a federal immigration enforcement program that worked with local officials and replaced it with the Priority Enforcement Program - or PEP - which Hodgson says allows illegal immigrants to be able to commit more crimes before being deported.

The topic of illegal immigration has gained national attention as presidential candidate Donald Trump has made it a focus of his campaign, and other Republican candidates, such as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, has called out leaders of so-called "sanctuary cities," who he says should be held criminally liable for ignoring federal law.

"If mayors and others want to create sanctuaries for murderers, rapists and other criminals, they should be willing to face the consequences," Jindal said.

All of this is playing out as legislation is being filed on Beacon Hill that would offer more sanctuary protections to undocumented immigrants in Massachusetts.

State Rep. Byron Rushing filed the bill that would ban public agencies from sharing information on the undocumented with federal immigration enforcement and help undocumented from having access to state benefits like welfare and drivers licenses.

Rushing says his bill is not "sanctuary state" legislation, adding, "All of the available information demonstrates that a majority of immigrants in the state are employed and pay taxes. Their presence benefits our economy, our politics and culture."  

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